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Billy. Really, it is shocking to hear you talk ; it is dreadful, when people can scoff even at death itself. You know it was but the other day that young Captain Rakish, my Lord's second son, died, after about three day's illness, of a stoppage in his bowels; and it is well known in what despair and agony he left this world, and what awful things he said to his father for having encouraged and introduced him into all sorts of sin; and what he said to another young officer who came to see him just before he died.
Frolick. Why, what did he say ?
Billy. “I have been assisting with you to conquer the enemies of our king and country, while I haye madly suffered myself to be conquered by the enemy of souls.” And then he cried, “ The battle is fought, the battle is fought, the battle is fought; but the victory is lost for ever. I would not have lived and died as he did for a thousand such worlds as this.
Frolick. Well, well, for all this I should like to live a merry life while I live; and be a good penitent when I come to die; and that is my creed. I have no notion of being a saint too soon.
Henry. My dear William, let me be serious with you.
I confess with shame I have been till of late among the number of those “ fools who make a mock of sin;" I now grieve to think what a bold, hardened profligate I have been; and how I have corrupted you and others by my bad example. I confess, I have had deep sorrow for my sinful conduct; but never felt any remorse in the blessed service of God. While I lived, as I fear you live, I tried all I could to laugh and joke away my misery; but in all my mirth I carried a gnawing hell within. I was a self-tormentor every moment of my life, and I know that none of us could bear reflection; and in what we call
jovial songs, we could blasphemously curse the passing bell for interrupting us, and still continue our rebellious, profane, and filthy conversation; despising all subordination to the laws of God and man, because, in the height of our wickedness, we could not bear the least restraint. And what were our reflections when we were in our beds! As to myself, never could I sleep, till I was worn out by my rakish conduct. While I slept I was tormented by dreams; and when I awoke I rose with nothing but discontent and disgust against myself. The sight even of my parents was a horror to me, while the extravagant fruits of my vile conduct I dreaded every moment of my life. From this hell of misery I made for myself, I was madly driven into another hell—a man of war! There I saw sin in its horrid perfection, without any of those earthly gratifications to comfort me, which I found in my father's house, and which I so ungratefully forsook. I now most humbly implore your forgiveness for the mischief I have done you, my dear William, and others by my conduct, and affectionately request you to seek forgiveness from that most merciful Saviour, whose free salvation I must for ever adore in changing the heart, and pardoning the sins of a wretch once so vile. I now live a wonder to myself, that my own wickedness has not procured my eternal ruin, Let one who has been your fellow sinner intreat you to become his fellow traveller in the blessed ways of God.
[Henry was now so overcome by his own thoughts that he could say no more, till he was interrupted by a message that Thomas Newman had brought the horses, to convey him to his father's house at Gracehill farm.
Mr. Traffick comes in from the shop.]
Traffick. Mr. Henry, Thomas Newman is come with
the horses ; you must get yourself ready. Vol. I.
Henry. Thomas Newman! why is that the poor man who worked for my father, and the same we used to ridicule on account of his religion ?
Traffick. Yes; and a truly good man he is; he is only gone to the butcher's for a joint of veal, to be roasted for
for your father says, they must have a piece of the fatted calf, that they may all eat and be merry, because you are come home,
Henry. What, for such a wretch as I! (Henry weeps and adds,] Oh, what a loving, forgiving, uniting spirit does the grace of Christ create among those whose hearts have tasted of his love!
[Henry is mounted, and rides home with Thomas, and Billy Traffick walks with them.]
Henry. Well, Thomas, how do my dear father and mother do?
Tho. Oh, Sir, my master is very well considering; but he takes on wonderfully at the thoughts of seeing you.
Henry. And well he may, when he receives into his house
such an ungrateful wretch as I have been! Tho. O, no, master Henry, that is not the cause; it is because the Lord has so mercifully met with you and changed your heart; aye, and it is wonderful how his heart has been changed by the grace of God since you left us.
Henry. Why, Thomas, they say Mr. Lovegood is a most faithful and affectionate preacher of the gospel
Tho. Aye, that he is, as ever lived: to be sure, he is the finest man in all the world; and it will do you good to see how my old master stands up in the pew, and how, at times, the tears keep running down his cheeks, while he hears him preach the precious word of life among us poor sinners; and you can have no conceivance what a many good people there are up and down the country; and how
our church is crowded Sunday after Sunday; and what a many abominable wicked sinners have been converted to God, and how happy and loving we all are together.
Henry. Why, what you tell me seems quite like a dream : it is like coming out of hell into heaven.But is not that
father and one of my sisters coming to meet us?
Tho. Yes; it is your father and Miss Nancy.-Dear old gentleman! he is coming out to meet you, as the father came to meet the prodigal in the Gospel. How he has been talking about you, and counting the days till you come home, for he ex-. pected you full a fortnight or three weeks before this.
Henry. O, what shall I do! how shall I meet him! how he lifts up his hands! and how he seems to be affected! Lift me off, Thomas I am so lame. What a meeting this will be! The Lord support me!
Under such circumstances the newly converted prodigal and parent met. The conversation was too interrupted to be related. At the door of the house Henry wás embraced by his mother. Had he not been prevented, he would have been directly upon his kness to have begged her pardon for having given much severer pains to her heart by his conduct, than ever she felt for him as his mother, when she brought him into the world. Miss Polly all the time completely kept up the character of the elder son in the parable; she would neither baste the veal, nor melt the butter, nor draw the beer, nor even peel a potatoe; but shewed such tempers as exemplified a complete contrast between the spirit of envy, and the spirit which is of God.
We suppose the course of the dialogue to be discontinued for an hour, and by that time Sam comes
up in haste from the vicarage, having been sent as a purpose-messenger to Brookfield, to announce the arrival of Henry to Mr. Lovegood. Mr. Lovegood soon follows, and is introduced.
Far. Harry, my child, this is our dear minister who brought your poor father—[he weeps and adds] to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
Loveg. to Littleworth. My good friend, though I rejoice with you on this happy event, yet you had need support, that you may rejoice with trembling and with holy moderation.-(to Henry.) My dear youth, we are most heartily rejoiced at this event, and at the good evidence you have given that a divine change has been wrought on your heart. .
Henry. I hope and trust it has; for you must know, Sir, what a wretch I was before I went to sea.
Loveg. No matter what has been; the Lord, I trust, has cast all those sins behind his back. Consider, by the grace of God, what is to be ; for in the
of Christ is provided for us in time, and the glory of Christ in eternity.
Henry. Oh, Sir, I am ashamed to look you in the face, when, with the deepest contrition, I consider in my wicked wild days what cruel words I have uttered against you, and what abominable stories I was glad to hear, and even invent, to expose your innocent character. I would beg your pardon a thousand times.
Loveg. Oh no, Sir, we must have no begging of pardons. If God has pardoned us, we can easily forgive each other: but there is nothing new in all this; for Paul, before his conversion, was “injurious and opprobrious ;" we therefore, who have been crucified with Christ, and who have been made partakers of the power of his spiritual resurrection, are to suppose, that all our former evils are left behind in